Archive for December, 2007

kashmir experiencing hyderabad

Posted: December 27, 2007 in identity
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Two decades of insurgency have deeply tainted the societal and monetary lives of Kashmiri’s. With the ongoing commotion in the valley the unstable economy has left people with limited employment opportunities. Corruption has led to the failure of all imperative welfare programmes like health, education and employment. Only government jobs have remained the main source of employment for the educated youth          Due to decline of tourism industry and handicraft business, private sector in valley has utterly withered away thus leaving businessmen of the valley in colossal quandary. The low earning capabilities of Kashmiri’s in these circumstances together with the growing demand of jobs have forced thousands of Kashmiri’s to leave their so called paradise and travel to other parts of the country.

                          In the beginning it was Delhi that most of the Kashmiri’s preferred as their subsequent asylum. But due to atrocities carried out by the Delhi police by treating Kashmiri’s as abettors inculcated into the minds of Kashmiri’s a profound sense of insecurity and vulnerability. Mostly Kashmiri Muslims were seen with the suspicious eye by the police and the locals. But despite all this Kashmiri’s in recent have demonstrated their caliber in almost every turf. Earlier Kashmiri’s were thought to be indolent, docile, content, people with no capability of taking risks. But now whole scenario has changed and Kashmiri populace has made their marks in various fields like business, education, science. Recent saying is that India will hound its next decade intellectuals from Kashmir. Kashmiri’s recently have started moving to southern states of India as well where they are experiencing a very different response than what most of Kashmiri’s experienced in Northern states of India. One of such states where Kashmiri’s have recently started inflowing is Andhra Pradesh. In the city of Hyderabad loads of Kashmiri’s have arrived. Most of these Kashmiri’s have either came for business purposes, educational purposes or to settle here by taking several professions in different sectors.

                   Students from Kashmir have secured numerous seats in reputed institutions from last four years. In university of Hyderabad, which is a central government institution declared by University Grants Commission (UGC) as a “university with potential for excellence” about ten students have secured admissions only in last two years.

“It is almost 3000 kilometers that we have traveled all the way from Kashmir only to acquire some cultural capital and to get reformed” says Mushtaq Dar, a student of M.Phil from political science.

                     Hyderabad, the city of Nawabs has to a large extent satisfied the dream of businessmen from Kashmir. Most of the businessmen arrive here in the months of December and January. In January every year all India industrial exhibition is held in Nampally, Hyderabad. Most of the businessmen taking part in the exhibition are from Srinagar. Some of businessmen are coming here from last one decade or two decades to pitch their stalls. Nampally exhibition till now has gratified almost every business community member from Kashmir.

 

Omar, artificial jewelry shop owner from Kashmir remarks “we are part of this exhibition from last 12 years; we have our customers here who have became like family members for us”.

 

                          Hyderabad, now one of the most important cities of India has proved to be an employment destination for some section of the Kashmiri’s. Most are recruited in bank sector and IT sectors. Kashmiri’s here have made Hyderabadi Biryani as their intimate friend.

 

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Cinema is a fascinating subject but Indian cinema popularly known as Bollywood is more so because of the peculiar traits of the people who watch it. Bollywood goes deeply into the psyche of the younger generation of Kashmiri youth. Unlike rest of India Kashmir is not privileged with cinemas which after 1989 were burnt due to the rise of major strife in the valley. As the movement itself was directly or indirectly involved in Islamizing the valley, the religious cream of the crop looked at cinemas as a stigma in such a society and mere tools of moral degradation. At present rarely any cinema halls are running in valley, put out of your mind the concept of modern multiplexes. New born if has eager to know practically how theatres look like she/he must has to come out of the valley to fulfill that craving. Frankly speaking it was in the 19th year of my age when I had for the first time glimpse of how cinema theatres look like. If in this time we even assume of theatres in valley it necessary to take care of assumption. First it is threat from the militant groups, religious leaders then personal security that has to be taken care of. It should not be like any mine being planted in theatre you are watching the movie. But despite all this there is Bollywood wave circulating in the valley.                                            

                           From last one decade it is Bollywood music and Bollywood films have brought the major cultural change in the valley. I will not be exaggerating while saying that the day of Bollywoodized Kashmiri youth start with Bollywood melody and ends with the same. From portable cassette player to cable TV, the dissemination and consumption of Bollywood culture has caused a major transformation in popular culture in Kashmir. The inexpensive sources accessible to common man to get exposed to Bollywood world like music tapes, audio cassettes, pirated compact discs etc. have revitalized local subcultures and community values throughout the valley. Stickers of Bollywood films and stars decorate the autos and buses, posters of film stars adorn the walls of tailors, shops and mechanics, garages. Bollywood films have entered into dialogic construction of Kashmir popular culture by offering youth alternative world.                   

                    The main sources from where Bollywood enters valley are cable TV, music tapes, audio cassettes, pirated compact discs etc. All sources themselves are questionable that is overall different issue.  What is needed here is to question the relation between Bollywood and Kashmir.  How Bollywood and Kashmir look upon each other. How do the people relate these movies, how they reconcile their antagonistic feelings towards the Indian state and nationalism. If we look at the number of films that has been made of Kashmir it comes more or less 10. These films are fine manifestations of representation of Kashmir by Bollywood. Starting from the image of Kashmir as a paradise as evoked in the films of the 60s (Kashmir ki kali), has in some ways carried over into recent films dealing with the Kashmir issue (e.g. Roja, fanaa). Recent trend by looking at films like Roja, fanaa is caricaturing Kashmiri’s as terrorists, un-national, perfidious. But fat reception of Bollywood films by youth of Kashmir raises the question arises how far Hindi films have been successful in soothing their antagonistic feelings towards the Indian state and nationalism with their love of Bollywood.                  

                    Bollywood films are made for a pan Indian audience and the makers of the films are aware of the necessity of constructing a filmic style that crosses both linguistic and cultural boundaries. More specifically these films carry largely message of oneness and strong sense of Indian nationalism. These films make constant reference to classical Indian mythology, folk, drama and literature and Hindu religious practice. Bollywood has now become largely primary part of Kashmiri youth thus proving religious leaders erroneous in their assessment of smoldering theatres in valley so that it can thwart Bollywood from inflowing valley. While on the other side watching Bollywood cinema has made people to compromise their age old customs and traditions of valley. Modernity has made effortless itinerary to Kashmir from last one decade which has made people to satisfy their false needs.

Bollywoodization in kashmir

Posted: December 3, 2007 in Uncategorized

Cinema is a fascinating subject but Indian cinema popularly known as Bollywood is more so because of the peculiar traits of the people who watch it. Bollywood goes deeply into the psyche of the younger generation of Kashmiri youth. From last one decade it is Bollywood music and Bollywood films that have brought the major cultural change in the valley. I will not be exaggerating if I say that life of Bollywoodized Kashmiri youth starts with Bollywood music and ends with the same. From portable cassette player to cable TV, the dissemination and consumption of Bollywood culture has caused a major transformation in popular culture in Kashmir. The inexpensive sources accessible to common man to get exposed to Bollywood world like music tapes, audio cassettes, pirated compact discs etc. have revitalized local subcultures and community values throughout the valley. Stickers of Bollywood films and stars decorate the autos and buses, posters of film stars adorn the walls of tailors, shops and films mechanics, garages. Bollywood films have entered into dialogic construction of Kashmir popular culture by offering youth alternative world.

Bollywood films are made for a pan Indian audience and the makers of the films are aware of the necessity of constructing a filmic style that crosses both linguistic and cultural boundaries. More specifically these films carry largely message of oneness and strong sense of Indian nationalism. These films also make constant reference to classical Indian mythology, folk, drama and literature and Hindu religious practice. Now the question that arises is how these films penetrate into the minds of Kashmiri Muslim youth and how they identify with Hindu Indian audience despite the cultural gap.Psychoanalysts discuss this phenomenon by arguing that Hindi films are successful because they engage every day fantasy. As Suddir Kakkar a psychoanalyst puts it ‘fantasy is that world of imagination which is fuelled by desire and which provides us with an alternative world where we can continue with our long standing quarrel with reality”. The problems of contemporary Kashmiri youth are evidenced in different realms from the perceived rise in violence to theft, disrespect for elders and materialism. From parents to religious leaders all are anxious of the changing attitudes and behaviors of the youth.In reality it is only 10 bad films that Bollywood throughout its history has able to produce on Kashmir. If we analyze these films it makes one clear about how the mainstream media represents Kashmir and Kashmiri people. Almost in all these films Kashmiri’s are either labeled as terrorists or fundamental Muslim’s whose morals and ethics are pre-modern and doesn’t fit in this western democratic liberal society. On one hand it is Indian Bollywood cinema which our youth adore, while on the other hand it is the same youth who have lost their self under militancy fighting with the same country that produces these movies. As Chakravarty argues that Indian films have created mode of address, a we-ness of common cultural and national concerns that accounts for the appeal but which is largely a fiction in a country as large as diverse as India. By accepting Bollywood as very palatable commodity it is important for the youth to question their ‘self’ before complaining the ‘other’. It is only one way of giving legitimacy to Indian state to rule Kashmir by acknowledging notion of one ness that is strongly carried by these movies.